What is the key to successful innovation?


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What’s the secret to innovation? Is it all about having work spaces peppered with chill-out zones, ping-pong tables and climbing walls? Actually, the truth is far more down to earth.

There’s a myth that floats around in business circles sometimes. It goes like this: Visionaries and other creative types are being suffocated by corporate structures. You simply need to leave them alone to get on with it. Set them free to run with their ideas and they’ll deliver the kind of tech innovation that’ll make Apple’s pips squeak.

Now there might be an element of truth to this – I know a lot of talent people who’ve felt stifled working for global enterprises. It’s also correct that brilliant thinkers often need time to get smart ideas off the ground. But it’s not true that they should be left alone if you want the best results.

Here are three guiding principles for nurturing and harnessing innovation:

1) Accept mistakes but not incompetence

People often associate innovation with breakthrough inventions that change the world. But flashes of genius are more commonly seen in how companies rethink everyday activities to save time, money and improve results radically.

If talented members of your team want to attempt to fix problems or rise to a new challenge, let them try within time or funding limits. Accept that failure is part of the learning process. However things turn out, you’ll discover important facts along the way about your business.

But never accept incompetence. By that, I mean behaviour like someone spending money without approval, acting unethically, failing to answer requests for information, hiding progress, promising updates that never materialise or being sloppy. Innovators must be competent, serious and diligent.


Please read the full article on Start Ups Magazine.

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